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R2PCS Listserv
15 February 2008
Responsibility to Protect Engaging Civil Society
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In this issue:
[New Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect]

R2PCS welcomes the launch of a new center on the Responsibility to Protect in New York. The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, officially launched at the UN on 14 February 2008, will be based at Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). The Centre will conduct, coordinate, and publish research on refining and applying the R2P concept and will serve a catalyst for moving the responsibility to protect from principle to practice. It will be an information clearing-house and resource for governments, international institutions, and non-governmental organizations leading the fight against mass atrocities.

The Global Centre is the initiative of five international non-governmental organizations, including the International Crisis Group, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam International, and Refugees International and WFM - Institute for Global Policy (which houses the R2PCS project). Among the patrons are well-renowned global leaders like Kofi Annan, Desmond Tutu, Romeo Dallaire, Lloyd Axworthy, Joschka Fischer, and Mary Robinson. Initially, the Centre will be funded by the governments of Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda, and the United Kingdom as well as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Institute, and private donors Scott and Elena Lawlor.

See the following articles for more information, or refer directly to the Center's website,

1. New Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect Opens
2. UN Chief Hails Creation of New Centre on "Responsibility to Protect"
3. Edmonton Prof to Lead Fight Against Genocide: University of Albertas W. Andy Knight Welcomed Today by UNs Secretary-General

1. New Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect Opens
CUNY Graduate Centre News
February 2008

A new global institute dedicated to improving international responses to genocide and mass atrocities is now part of the Graduate Centers Ralph Bunch Institute for International Studies. The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect will support a groundbreaking principle agreed to in September 2005 by heads of state from around the world: [the "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P)]. () The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, an independent research and advocacy organization, will make this doctrine a reality.

The Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect will generate research, conduct high-level advocacy, and facilitate activities of those working to advance the R2P agenda. It will work to:

gain greater understanding and acceptance of the R2P norm;
ensure that the R2P norm is invoked accurately and effectively by a wide-range of governmental, international and non-governmental actors;
advance the debate on the limitations and possibilities of using military force to protect against mass atrocities;
support endeavors to build capacity to within international institutions, governments, and regional organizations to fulfill their protection responsibilities; and
contribute to the mechanisms and strategies necessary to generate an effective political response as new R2P situations arise.

() "With a strong North/South character reflected by its links to associated centers throughout the world and affiliated research network," said Evans, "the GCR2P will be a catalyst for implementing the commitment of all countries to protect people around the world from genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes."

The timing of the launch coincides with the designation by The Elders of February as "R2P month" as part of a year-long campaign to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

A number of global leaders have pledged their support for the centre, including: Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize winner; Lloyd Axworthy, president and vice chancellor of the University of Winnipeg, former member of parliament and foreign minister of Canada; Romo Dallaire, senior fellow at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, at Concordia University, and force commander of the UN mission to Rwanda; Jan Eliasson, former president of the United Nations General Assembly and foreign minister of Sweden; Joschka Fischer, former minister of foreign affairs for Germany; David Hamburg, former president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York; Lee Hamilton, president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University, longtime U.S. congressman, co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, and vice-chair of the 9/11 Commission; Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan; Sadako Ogata, president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, formerly UN High Commissioner for Refugees and chairman of the executive board of UNICEF; Fidel Valdez Ramos, former president of the Philippines; Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, founder and chair of Realizing Rights: the Ethical Globalization Initiative and a member of The Elders; Desmond Tutu, founder, along with Nelson Mandela and Graa Machel, of The Elders, and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

International Advisory Board co-chairs Gareth Evans and Mohamed Sahnoun will be joined by: Kwesi Aning, head of the Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution Department Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre; Kenneth H. Bacon (president of Refugees International); Radhika Coomaraswamy (UN Under-Secretary-General, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict); Jan Egeland (director of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs); Rama Mani; Juan Mndez (president of the International Center for Transitional Justice); Barbara Stocking (director of Oxfam); Ramesh Thakur (distinguished fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Ottawa); and Graduate Center Professor Thomas G. Weiss (awarded the "Grand Prix Humanitaire de France 2006" and author or editor of some 35 books on international relations).

The Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies is headed by Thomas G. Weiss, and engages in research, graduate training, and public education about international affairs and contemporary global problem-solving with a focus on multilateralism and international institutions.


2. UN Chief Hails Creation of New Centre on "Responsibility to Protect"
UN News Centre
14 February 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the establishment in New York of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, a doctrine that holds States responsible for shielding their own populations from genocide and other major human rights abuses and requires the international community to step in if this obligation is not met.

"The birth of this new initiative holds great promise in supporting the endeavours of the international community to take the principle of the responsibility to protect from concept to actuality, from word to deed," said Mr. Ban in a statement delivered by Vijay Nambiar, the Secretary-Generals Chief of Staff.

"You will help ensure that the responsibility to protect is known, understood and enjoyed by everyone, everywhere," he said, pointing out that those who most need their rights protected often also need to be informed that the obligation exists for them.

(...) The Secretary-General called the responsibility to protect, sometimes known as 'R2P,' "a solemn commitment by the international community" and a "profound moral imperative in today's world."

Working together, he said that "we can deliver on the promise of the responsibility to protect, and we can transform this idea from an abstract obligation into what it truly is: one of humanity's highest calling."

For Secretary-General's message on the opening of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect [delivered by Mr. Vijay Nambiar, Chef de Cabinet to the Secretary-General], please visit:

3. Edmonton Prof to Lead Fight Against Genocide: University of Alberta's W. Andy Knight Welcomed Today by UN's Secretary-General
Global Edmonton
By Duncan Thorne
14 February 2008

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed an Edmonton armed-conflict expert today [W. Andy Knight, a University of Alberta political scientist,] as executive director of [the New York-based Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect].

(...) The centre has UN support but will work independently, doing research and lobbying at senior government levels, [Knight] said.

(...) He [admitted] the centre is deliberately independent of the UN because the tasks it will handle are so sensitive. "They don't want to implicate the UN in some of this work.["]

"For much of it of course we will try to get countries to embrace the concept of responsibility to protect," [Mr. Knight declared]. "This is a concept thats pretty controversial in some countries. Particularly in developing countries they are concerned that this could be used as a means of allowing big countries to intervene in their internal affairs."

(...) Canada should itself be doing more to tackle conflicts in such countries as Sudan and Darfur, Knight said. "We've put a lot of energy into Afghanistan, which is good. But there are still lots of conflicts out there that need to be addressed. Canada has the potential to do a lot more in those areas."

(...) "It is a big challenging, daunting proposition to head up a centre like this," he [added]. "The weight of the responsibility is enormous." "We're talking about trying to save innocent people from being slaughtered in genocidal attacks, mass slaughter, crimes against humanity."

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